If you’re planning on getting pregnant, you have a lot to think about, from fun things like shopping for maternity clothes to decorating the nursery. There are also self-care practices and other steps you can take to ensure that you have the healthiest pregnancy possible.
If you’re yearning to have a baby, you’re in the right hands at the Miami Institute for Women’s Health in Miami, Florida. Dr. Peter Khamvongsa and his caring team provide services for women in every stage of life, including advanced care for those planning on becoming pregnant or expecting a baby.
We’ve created a “Top 7” list of things you can start doing so that you’re well-prepared and in tip-top shape for pregnancy. Loving your baby starts early, well before they’re born. Read below to find out what you can do before conceiving.
Seven practices you can adopt for a healthier pregnancy
It’s important to feel like an empowered patient anytime, especially during pregnancy. Making the right choices during this time sets you up for a more comfortable, healthier nine months.
1. Start seeing your OB/GYN
It’s important to schedule an appointment with your provider before your pregnancy. You could say that good prenatal care starts even before conception. By meeting with your provider, you can discuss your health history and any current conditions that may impact your pregnancy.
2. Make sure your vaccines are up to date
Speak with your provider about which vaccines you may need before you conceive by reviewing your vaccine record, including COVID-19 boosters.
Protect yourself from rubella by ensuring you’re up to date with your measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR) vaccine. The disease puts you at risk for miscarriage and stillbirth. It also can lead to birth defects, including deafness and heart conditions.
3. Assess the medications you take with your doctor
Medications include prescriptions, over-the-counter medications, and any vitamins or herbal supplements. Dr. Khamvongsa may advise you to stop taking specific medications while trying to conceive or throughout your pregnancy. If that’s the case, he weighs the risks with you and suggests substitutions to consider during pregnancy.
If you take medicine for a mental health or chronic condition, Dr. Khamvongsa can consult with your other providers. This ensures that the treatment is safe and poses no risks for your baby.
4. Stop using alcohol, tobacco, and any recreational drugs
The risks during pregnancy of using these substances include birth defects, premature birth, and even death of the baby. Because some women don’t realize they’re pregnant when they use these substances, it’s best to cut them out if you’re planning a pregnancy.
If you experience problems with quitting, Dr. Khamvongsa can discuss this with you and refer you to a provider or program that can help.
5. Begin taking a folic acid supplement daily
Folic acid lowers the risk of birth defects, like spina bifida, so ensure you are getting enough. You can get this B vitamin from your food, but a supplement can help you get the recommended amount of 400 micrograms per day.
6. Keep your weight in check
Being overweight or obese not only puts stress on your body but can also increase your risk of pregnancy complications. These include preeclampsia (high blood pressure during pregnancy), gestational diabetes, miscarriage, and stillbirth. Your baby is also more likely to be affected by childhood asthma, cognitive problems, and obesity.
7. Learn your family health history
Getting current about your family’s health history helps you and your doctor understand your baby’s chances of being affected by everything from a heart problem to a genetic condition like sickle cell disease.
Taking these steps sets you up for the healthiest pregnancy possible, and empowers you to protect your baby’s health, even before birth.
Call our office at 786-220-2184 to set up an appointment with Mr. Khamvongsa to discuss your pregnancy plans or book one with us online. We’re here for you before, during, and after your baby’s birth to care for, educate, and encourage you.